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Showing posts from December, 2017

Happy 2018!

Happy New Year to Milanisti everywhere! After more than one year of angst, massive changes, surprise successes and devastating disappointments, the new year often resets our jaded and weary hearts with at least a small modicum of hope. And then Milan play again.

Fiorentina 1, Milan 1: Knee-Jerk Reaction

Gattuso has been begging for the guys to react, and today they did. Once. They responded with a goal within three minutes of conceding one. And other than the fact that it was Gigio’s amazing 100th appearance at the tender age of 18 years old, there wasn’t much else for me to wake up for. I mean it was a point, away… that’s so much better than some of the performances we’ve seen of late. But still… sleep… so precious.

Podcast: Still Looking for Answers

The constant turns and twists of Milan’s fate can be difficult to keep up with. We look to every game with hope in our hearts and are rarely rewarded. Off the pitch there is even more craziness, and if you are truly looking for answers, social media is definitely not the place. But as fans, if we stick together and wade through the rumors and critics and cling to reality, we can perhaps find some answers together.

Coppa Italia Quarterfinal • Milan 1, Inter 0: Turn of the Tide

Coming into this match, Gattuso said it was like a World Cup final and that the Derby “could change our season.” Those were bold statements from a coach who has looked more lost than found since he was appointed. And whose team’s results were only marginally better than their performances during his tenure to date. But maybe his words were magic. Or maybe Inter just sucked worse than Milan. Either way, emotionally, particularly in one particular moment, this actually did feel like the turn of the tide.

Coppa Italia Quarterfinal • Milan vs. Inter: Dysfunctional Family Gathering

You know those cousins that you have to see at every family gathering? The ones who spend most of their time crying unless life is going well for them, then they act like divas? Yeah, those guys. So we get to see them again on Wednesday in the Coppa Italia Quarterfinal. Only they have less than they would like to have had to brag about, having lost their past two games in a row. So I guess there will be a bunch of ugly, crying divas at the San Siro. The perfect dysfunctional family gathering.

A Very Milan Christmas

We’ve all seen drunk Santa. A guy who was down on his luck, lost his job, and took a temporary job playing Santa. But when his wife threw him out because she was in love with his best friend, he drowned his sorrows in alcohol. Which got him fired, of course, and now he is sitting in the alley, filthy and drunk and passed out. And that is exactly the shape of Milan this season on this happy occasion. Merry Christmas!

Milan 0, Atalanta 2: Bad Santa

He poses as our coach now, but the former Milan champion is more like a really Bad Santa. We expect him to bring us all of our dreams, but in the end, we’re lucky not to get roughed up and thrown in a dumpster or something. Which is what this game felt like this week. After Bad Santa stole our team’s teambuilding Christmas dinner and forced them into the always ineffective and inexplicably punitive ritiro all week, nearly 46,000 fans at the San Siro faithful added insult to injury and abused not only Gigio, but also the entire team after they failed to rise above the negative abuse from their coach this week. And the result was a painful loss at a time of the year when alcohol is already too plentiful. Perhaps if our Bad Santa had just been a little more jolly and used positive motivation instead of treating our players like children, this painful loss could have easily been avoided.

Milan-Atalanta Preview: Bah Humbug

When I first looked at the Serie A calendar, with the added Christmas fixtures, I was not excited. Not having games around Christmas was a signature of Serie A, and I personally liked it. To play Atalanta on Chrismas Eve Eve was likely going to prove problematic. But now, with where the team are, our new coach, and the enforced and admittedly punitive ritiro this week, it seems like something right out of Ebenezer Scrooge’s playbook. Bah Humbug.

The Long Road to Rebuilding

I am beginning to comprehend
the mystery
of the gift of suffering.
It is true as some
have said
that it is a crucible
in which the gold of one’s spirit
is rendered
and shines.
(from Alice Walker’s “The Long Road Home”)
That poem was written about Mohammed Ali, but it could just as easily have been written about supporting Milan. How many times have I written over the last five and a half years about our suffering, and tried to be optimistic about what the future held? It seems a pointless exercise at this point. And yet not. For we are still looking to rebuild, and in rebuilding there is hope. It’s just that it is a very long road to rebuilding.

Verona 3, Milan 0: Battle Weary

One only needs to look at the fans of the two clubs to see why Milan lost this one. On Wednesday, after Milan fans had worked themselves into a tizzy for nothing on social media, the Curva raised a banner against their own player and viciously insulted him, then whistled him every time he had the ball. Miraculously, with 9,000 “fans” like this in attendance, Milan were able to take out an uninspired Verona in the Coppa Italia. Then on this day at the Bentegodi, Verona returned the favor goal for goal. While Milan fans were shown turning their backs to the players in protest, Verona fans were ridiculously loud for the entire match, singing and chanting in… what is that called again? Oh yeah… support of their team. It literally wore me out half a world away, they were so loud for the entire game. And so between Milan fans turning on their own when the wind changes and the Verona fans creating a nonstop cacophony of support for their team, I think Milan simply were battle weary.

Verona-Milan Preview: Birthday Lunch

To celebrate the 118th birthday of AC Milan, Hellas Verona have invited us to a very special lunch date. It will be held at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, with thousands of fervent Verona fans. However the only eating will be some humble pie if Milan fail to bring home three points. After defeating this same team 3-0 in the Coppa Italia on Wednesday, it would be quite the party foul if we don’t bring three points home with us as a party favor.

Coppa Italia • Milan 3, Verona 0: Common Sense

This should be a happy, joyous post about winning a match by three goals, keeping a clean sheet, and progressing to the next round of a competition no one cares about. Happy that Gattuso stuck with the 4-3-3 and not only did it completely pay off, they are really starting to come to life again. I should be thrilled that we kept a clean sheet, particularly considering the abuse our own fans gave our keeper. And for what? Rumors. Things people claim in the media blow up into things people believe in social media. And then they act worse than the people they claim are stirring things up. Yeah, this match would have been really joyful if people just had a little common sense.

Coppa Italia • AC Milan vs. Hellas Verona: More Guarantees

Every year, people say that no one cares about the Coppa Italia. But this year, Milan needs to care about every single game. With such a disappointing start, the mentality is so fragile, and every game counts just for mentality alone. Thankfully, we are going into this match after a win, largely due to a change in system from Gattuso. And after seeing the massive difference it made on Sunday, Gattuso has said that he will stick with the four man backline, as it provides “more guarantees.” This is so heartening to hear after Montella’s obsession with the three man backline, but winning a Coppa Italia match that no one cares about will provide still more guarantees.

Milan 2, Bologna 1: Winter Renewal

It was simply magical. Gattuso, atoning for the sins of himself and Montella, humbly switched formations to the 4-3-3. And Milan was richly rewarded. Instead of the stale, increasingly less offensive game that cost Montella his job, or the dead, incredibly defensive way Gattuso had the team play in his first two matches in charge, we finally saw signs of life again in a team many had left for dead. With a massive 21 shots, seven on target, poor Bologna didn’t stand a chance. And when the snow started falling at halftime, it was as if the whole night were a winter renewal.

Milan-Bologna Preview: A Fool’s Hope

In The Lord of the Rings, Pippin asks the wise Gandalf, “Is there any hope…?” To which Gandalf replies “There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope.” The same could be said for fans with Gattuso. His coaching record is poor, he’s completely inexperienced in Serie A and Europe, and his behavior record has actually interfered with him being able to coach. Those who blindly thought that merely changing coaches would bring results to Milan have been shown to be fools already, with the games away toBenevento and Rijeka. However, Frodo and Sam were successful even when all hope seemed dead. So maybe there is a chance for us Sunday night after all. Even if it’s just a fool’s hope.

Europa League: Rijeka 2, Milan 0: Lifeless

Zero shots on goal. Zero. And only seven shots total. Despite the fact that the stats say we had 67% possession, this little Croatian team dominated Milan for 90 minutes. And very rightfully won, too. In fact, they probably should have had more goals. Gattuso said Milan have a mentality problem. But it’s much worse than that. Tactically, physically, and emotionally, our team was lifeless.

Europa League • HNK Rijeka-AC Milan: Bottom Feeders

With literally nothing to lose and nothing to gain, Rijeka host Gattuso’s European debut on Thursday. If that goes anything like the bottom of the Serie A table’s Benevento match, then we have plenty to fear. Milan are top of their group, guaranteed to advance, and Rijeka are the bottom of the group, guaranteed not to advance. Which means that all they have to gain is our misery and humiliation at the hands of the team at the bottom of our group. That’s what bottom feeders do… thrive off of the trash that fell to the bottom.

Benevento 2, Milan 2: Hexed

The writing was on the wall. Benevento with their perfect failure record, just waiting to be broken. Milan having just downgraded coaches, playing away and ready for the slightest change in the wind to drop points to the team at the absolute bottom of the table. And we almost managed to take all three points in spite of ourselves. But with a little help from Mariani, Le Streghe brewed the perfect and most unbelievable spell and conjured their very first Serie A point at the death. At the cost of Milan’s dignity. It definitely feels like we were hexed.

Benevento vs. Milan: Spellbound

Gattuso censored, tactful, and sporting as usual